Facebook has minimized and dismissed its findings reportedly after The Wall Street Journal published its internal research and proved that Instagram harmed the well-being of teenage girls.
Facebook stated that the documents were only relevant for internal product development and nothing more. Social science researchers said that the company's statement does not make any sense.
Facebook Minimized its Own Findings
Even though Facebook's work is limited, it still fits into a larger set of data, including from researchers that are outside the social media company, according to USA Today.
The data shows that social media sites do have negative effects on the user's well-being. Even though that data is not shown, the way that the platform operates will give the public an idea of what is happening, and it should be a cause for concern.
The Wall Street Journal's report included internal slides showing data that proves Instagram was connected with depression, anxiety, suicidal thought, and body image issues.
Facebook defended their research, saying that the data that The Wall Street Journal has was taken out of context and that it was subjective.
The company also said that the report could not provide anything about Instagram. The social media company's efforts to minimize the research and dismiss the whistleblower who leaked the report are alarming.
According to The Verge, although Facebook's statements regarding the research are correct, they are somewhat misleading.
Melissa Hunt, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, said that the social media giant's statements are dangerous.
Facebook had revealed its slides. The slides are filled with annotations that give a better understanding of the research.
A lot of those annotations show that the data is based on the participants' subjective perceptions and that it was not made to assess how Instagram caused positive or negative effects.
The annotations also showed that the research is qualitative. It relied heavily on subjective information collected on questionnaires and through conversations with users.
It did not collect any data that showed how frequently users experienced depression or other issues.
Facebook's Stance on Instagram's Effects
Facebook stated that the information only shows that some users feel that way, and that is not enough evidence to conclude that Instagram has something to do with the mental health struggles of the users.
According to The Verge, Facebook said the studies were made to help its teams understand how users feel about the platform.
The studies are not created to provide prevalence measures or estimate the connection between Instagram and mental health.
Kaveri Subrahmanyam, a developmental psychologist at California State University, said that Facebook's statement is not an unreasonable response.
The whole research was only based on limited surveyed data, and it was not created to measure how Instagram causes changes in the mental health of its users.
Subrahmanyam said that it is a common issue with research and studies around social media and mental health. It asks people how they feel at a certain point, which often changes, so it does not tell you much.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Sophie Webster